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Stress Testing

December23/ 2014


So you’re running an advertising campaign to attract more customers, and it’s proving pretty successful. Brand recognition is rising and as a result, more and more people are passing through your eCommerce site. It all seems too good to be true, until you realise your servers can no longer handle the web traffic and suddenly… the website is down. Your brand’s reputation takes a knock; you lose considerable amounts of money in the downtime and end up wondering what you could have done to prevent such an ordeal.

There is an answer to this: stress-testing. We are constantly being told preparation is the key to success, and your company’s website should not be an exception to this rule. Stress-testing allows you to examine the performance of your website using reliable, repeatable load stress situations. The results offer accurate predictions of what end-users could experience during site stress, by timing how long it takes to access specific pages or receive a response during transactions under different load simulations. Speed, overall performance and risk of crashing are all taken into account during these tests. These simulations can be crucial for identifying areas of concern, allowing you to fix any bugs before they present themselves in the real world.

Recent research by the Aberdeen Group found that 79 per cent of online shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance wouldn’t buy from the site again. At moments when you’re really pushing for extra traffic and your website is in the spotlight, watching visitors plummet with your servers could be heartbreaking considering all the time and effort invested into directing them into your user experience. Especially when it could have permanent consequences.

Website crashes sadly aren’t a rare occurrence. Charities with websites often feel the strain with extra traffic. Take Kind Campaign for example – following an Emmy Award speech from Aaron Paul highlighting the organisation, the website crashed under sheer volume of traffic throughout that night and the next morning. Whilst this unfortunate event still helped to raise the visibility of the charity, it does raise questions on how much money could have been raised from the site when users first attempted access. Had the website been more prepared, the company could have really seized upon a great moment of hyper-visibility.

Companies in the retail sector have also suffered. In 2011, Ebuyer suffered an outage when holding a clearance sale for Cyber Monday, putting their competitive edge at risk on one of the busiest trading days of the year.

With online consumer spending projected to increase by 62 per cent over the next two years, servers are only going to be faced with more and more pressure from increasing traffic. Your website will be more crucial to your business than it has ever been before. Ensure that you take the right steps to help your business succeed.


Daniel Hobson is Head of eCommerce at Peer 1 Hosting. Based at their London office, he has been with Peer 1 since the August 2013, and has quickly established himself within the Retail industry throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, and America. Daniel brings with him 11 years of experience in working for a large international IT manufacturer in both Canada and the UK and has a successful track record in delivering enterprise-class solutions for both large and small (but highly aspirational) businesses in many different parts of the world. In his current position, Daniel is responsible for enabling retailers and merchants to get the most out of their investment in IT infrastructure (whether it is Web-based, back-office, or analytics). Establishing and maintaining relationships with experts and customers throughout the industry, Daniel is the first point of contact for any new commercial engagement with a business looking to maximise their online potential.